SANDY, UT - SEPTEMBER 22: Kyle Beckerman #5 of Real Salt Lake and Franck Songo'o #8 of the Portland Timbers fight for the ball during the first half of an MLS soccer game September 22, 2012 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah.(Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
In a result that surprised nobody, the Timbers took their road issues with them to Salt Lake on Saturday, losing 2-1 despite an even match an a last minute Bright Dike header off the crossbar. After a flat first half, the Timbers showed that they have some fight in them after all, getting on the board in the final thrid of the game and coming close several other times including Dike's near miss off the woodwork and one fantastic reaction save by Nick Rimando on a Rodney Wallace header.
Real Salt Lake had it all to play for as they clinched a playoff berth for the fifth year in a row with their win over the Timbers. The Timbers, meanwhile, played for their jobs as new head coach Caleb Porter prepares to take the reigns at the end of the season. Despite that added incentive, the day didn't see much in terms of stand out play for the Timbers.
Here are the individual player ratings:
Joe Bendik: 5
Ryan: You can't blame him for the for either of the goals on the two free kicks and the scoreline would have been worse if he hadn't made a couple of good saves.
Check out the rest of out ratings after the jump.
Andy: Kimura actually did a pretty decent job limiting the crosses from his side of the field, and his effectiveness on the attack actually increased as the game progressed as he started providing better support for Sal Zizzo. Then he was subbed out.
David Horst: 3
Andy: Fabian Espindola blew past him on numerous occasions, and, well, that would have been a serious problem if Espindola hadn't lost his ability to finish. Luck is not a good defensive strategy.
Ryan: RSL didn't score during the run of play and this is a direct result of how well Mosco and David Horst played.
Steven Smith: 5
Andy: A typically solid performance cut short by a half-time substitution to bring more attackers into the game.
Ryan: He gave up both of the free kicks that Salt Lake scored on and it seemed like his corners were a little off.
Rodney Wallace: 3
Andy: A week ago Wallace was getting man of the match raves. Perhaps it went to his head on Saturday, as he failed to close down space on RSL's wings and did not provide the defensive effort in the center of the pitch that the team needed. His contribution on offense also left a lot to be desired, taking a shot at one point from near midfield.
Andy: Once Nagbe got a bit of space to work in his game picked up quite a bit. But these are the games when Timbers fans are looking for their star player to stand up and lead the team to victory.
Sal Zizzo: 7
Andy: After not such a great first half, he took control of the game in the second half, got one assist and nearly got a second. My man of the match.
Andy: RSL were fully prepared for Franck the Tanck on Saturday, and Songo'o didn't adjust his game quite enough to overcome. Still, he got himself into a lot of dangerous positions in spite of the effort made against him, and his cross-field passes to Sal Zizzo were a constant bother to the opposition.
Danny Mwanga: 4
Ryan: He looked out of sync as the lone striker and was not getting on the ball to hold it up to allow the others to get in on the attack.
Bright Dike: 6
Ryan: He scored and hit the post on a night when opportunities were lacking.
Andy: Say what you will about Bright -- that he's clumsy with the ball at his feet, that his main goal seems to be to put a hole in the back of the net rather than merely score -- he's been a pretty solid target striker. On a night when it wasn't working for Mwanga, he provided the extra option off the bench that came close to salvaging a point.
Kalif Alhassan: N/A
Ryan: Kalif was not his usual self when he came into the game but it was hard to tell if it was him or if it was how the team was playing.
Eric Alexander: N/A
Will: Despite seeing the pitch for twenty minutes, Alexander did not leave much of an impression during Saturday night's game. He held the ball up well and passed effectively, but did not get involved in the attack while the Timbers were still scrambling for an equalizer.